Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continues to execute an all-hands-on-deck response to the early-season atmospheric river storm that delivered high winds and several inches of rain throughout Northern and Central California today.
Since the storm arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning, approximately 380,000 customers have lost power. That’s about 7% of the utility’s 5.5 million electric customers.
As of 6 p.m. Sunday evening, power has been restored for approximately 250,000 of those customers and approximately 130,000 customers remain impacted.
PG&E’s response includes opening our system-wide Emergency Operations Center as well as four regional storms centers and 20 local storm centers. There are approximately 3,000 electric and tree crews on the job, including distribution and transmission line crews; troublemen and women, which are the utility industry’s first responders to an outage; inspectors; and vegetation crews. Hundreds more employees are staffing the storm centers, performing safety duties, delivering needed equipment to PG&E yards and more.
Those crews were pre-positioned to be in place where PG&E’s in-house meteorology team had forecasted that storm impacts would be most severe.
Additionally, PG&E has requested mutual assistance from nearby utilities to ensure that customers are restored safely and as quickly as possible. Crews from San Diego Gas & Electric are expected to arrive by Tuesday.
A Significant Early-Season Storm
The heaviest impacts are being felt in the greater Bay Area with San Mateo, Santa Clara and Marin counties having the most outage totals.
The storm continues to impact PG&E’s service area as it moves southward overnight and into Monday. Customers in Fresno, Kern, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are likely to face potential outages.
PG&E meteorologists report that maximum wind gusts of 52 mph were recorded in Chico, 43 mph in Half Moon Bay, 45 mph in Oakland and 60 mph in San Francisco. Rainfall totals reached 5.8 inches in Auburn, 4.5 inches in Napa, 5.2 inches in Sacramento, 6.2 inches in Santa Rosa and 4.99 inches in Ukiah.
PG&E’s stand is simple, that everyone and everything is safe. With that in mind, crews will continue to work overnight, on Monday and into the week until all customers are restored.
Keeping Customers Informed
PG&E knows how important it is to keep its customers informed. Customers can view real-time outage information on its website outage center and search by a specific address, by city or by county. This site has been updated to include in-language support for 16 languages.
Additionally, customers can sign up for outage notifications by text, email or phone. PG&E will inform customers about the cause of an outage, when crews are on their way, the estimated restoration time, and when power is restored.
Storm Safety Tips
- Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 9-1-1 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on power lines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
- Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. And keep extra batteries on hand. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals, and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
- Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup. Having a portable charging device helps to keep your cell phone running.
- Have fresh drinking water, ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.
- Secure outdoor furniture: Deck furniture, lightweight yard structures and decorative lawn items should be secured as they can be blown by high winds and damage overhead power lines and property.
- Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug, or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
- Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 8-1-1 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.
Other tips can be found at www.pge.com/beprepared.
PG&E, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.